There are lots of lists out there of what to pack in your hospital bag when you’re preparing to give birth, and I think that I read through 90% of them when I was pregnant with my first child. I went on what I thought was the minimalistic side and didn’t pack a lot of things that people suggested because I thought they may be extraneous. It turns out there were still plenty of things that were in my bag that I never used.
So, this hospital bag packing list is for those people who only want to bring the very necessary things and don’t want to pack more than is absolutely necessary.
*Disclaimer: Anything that the hospital had and provided to us, I used and did not bring my own version of it. Because I had done this once already, I knew what those items were and that they were perfectly sufficient.
Minimalist’s Hospital Bag Packing List:
- Robe – I saw this on many people’s list, but didn’t have it in my bag the first time. Partially because I didn’t already own a robe and didn’t want to go buy one, and partially because I didn’t think I would wear it that often. WRONG. This was the first item I put on my second-time-around packing list. I would go so far to as to say that if a person doesn’t already own a bath robe, it’s worth purchasing for your hospital bag. It is so versatile and can be worn while in labor, and immediately after. It’s also the easiest thing to put on or take off for layering.
- Pajama shirt – I’ve decided that I’m giving all my pregnant friends this shirt as a gift as long as they keep selling them. It is ideal for every nursing mom. Super comfortable. Modest. Easy access for nursing.
- Sleeping bra – Perfect for under the pajama shirt
- Nursing tanks – I suggest packing multiples in case of “spills”
- Maternity Leggings – I read in a lot of places that people needed loose fitting pants, but my regular maternity leggings were super comfortable and didn’t bunch when I slept or walked.
- Maternity long-sleeved cotton shirts – One of these over a nursing tank with the maternity leggings were the perfect clothes for the couple days in the hospital after the baby was born. Soft, comfortable and no fuss.
- Toiletries: Toothbrush & toothpaste, face wipes, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, hair ties, bobby pins, make up, blow dryer, hairspray, dry shampoo
- Camera – We both took some photos with our phones, but wanted the real camera to take what I call our “real” pictures. Some people are good at getting good pictures with their phones, but I’m not one of them.
- iPad – Truthfully, I didn’t look at the iPad once while we were in the hospital, but I can see where a lot of people would want to have it, so I left it on the list
- Phone chargers – We learned with our first child how fast a phone battery can die upon announcing the birth of a child.
- Receiving blankets
- One-piece zip ups
- Going Home outfit
I think the above list begs the question, what were the items that I packed in my bag the first time, but left off the second time. They are:
- Nursing bras in multiple sizes – The nursing camis are much more flexible than a specific size bra and more comfortable
- Flip flops or soft socks – I don’t get all grossed out by my feet touching the surface of a floor. And I spent most of my time sitting or lying in a bed. If I needed foot coverings, I put on my toms.
- Books & Magazines – Everywhere I read said that you had lots of down time before the baby is born and even after. When I had downtime before my daughter was born, I slept (once I had the epidural), and after she was born, I snuggled her.
- Water Bottle – Our hospital had the giant water bottle with the straw that they constantly filled for me. I didn’t bring it home after my daughter was born, but when my son was born, my husband made me bring it home because he remembered filling my water bottle “once every 20 minutes with the last kid”. 🙂
- Pads – The hospital provided an entire package of them.
- Breast pump – Again, this was an “in case” thing. Josh and I decided that if circumstances dictated needing it, he would run home and get it. Which you can do when you live in a small town and the hospital is 5 minutes from your house.
- Nipple cream – Also provided by the hospital
- Pillow & Blanket – Also provided by the hospital and perfectly comfortable
- Pacifiers, Diapers & burp rags – All provided by the hospital
- Diaper bag – I don’t remember what I had in there that I thought I would need once my daughter was born, but I know that the only time it got touched was to carry it up to the room when we arrived and back down to the car when we left.
The funny thing about this list is that there were only so many things that I could pack ahead of time because a number of them I needed each day. I had a post-it on top of the bags with a list of the things that needed to be packed right before we left to go to the hospital (i.e. toothbrush, make up, blow dryer, leggings, shirt) to make sure that I didn’t forget them.
I went in for a regular appointment and found out that I needed to be induced that morning, so my husband had to pack those last few things. Lesson learned: Go over the list with your husband ahead of time so he knows what and where said items are. 🙂
Which leads to the more important lesson learned: Even if you don’t get everything you think you need in your hospital bag, the world doesn’t come crashing down. You still get to bring that beautiful bundle of joy home.